“Notice is hereby given that I will at public auction on Wednesday April 17, 2019, sell [your property at 2825 Saratoga Trail] to the highest and best bidder for cash.”
When someone else loses their home it’s no biggie, because it’s theirs. When it’s you losing your home, it’s a completely different story. If there was a lot of trauma behind having and losing homes in the past, then the trauma is so much greater.
There is no doubt that the mountain riding like an obese woolly mammoth on Watts’ shoulders at the time of the murders was the burden of the house. We know Shan’ann was in love with her home, and didn’t want to sell it. But the home didn’t belong to her.
Since Shan’ann was bossy, called the shots, and often told Watts what to do or how things were going to be, we can see how she would have opposed Watts on selling the house. Shan’ann was also very invested in the home, in terms of putting the names of her children on the walls, decorating rooms to color-coded specifications, and also using the house as a showpiece to brag on social media about how much she, and her husband and the family were Thriving ever after. It was easy to sell that spiel in a big, spacious, immaculate mansion, with a shiny new car in the garage, than in a grubby apartment with a battered 2006 Mustang.
Kessinger said Watts dragged his feet about selling the house, but it’s likely Shan’ann was the reason for this feet dragging. That seemed to end though when the Watts family were summoned by the Wyndham Hill Homeowner’s Association. Watts was also keenly aware of an oil battery that was about to spring up across the road from their big, new home, and cause its equity to hemorrhage.
For someone as OCD and fussy as Shan’ann, her laissez faire attitude to a fracking battery with all its health implications [she and the children had asthma] popping up nearby, says a lot about her level of attachment to the big home, and her determination to maintain the optics at least, of a lavish, successful lifestyle.
As soon as Shan’ann and the children were dead and disposed of, Watts went into high gear to get his house on the market, and to find a new one. He didn’t waste any time, did he? He was urgent, took charge, and got the ball rolling. This seems clear evidence that if he was dragging his feet, it was because of Shan’ann.
Perhaps this was the source of the furious screaming matches the neighbor overheard, and the reason why Watts was the one going crazy in them. He wanted to sell the house! Listen to 1:14 in the clip below:
So a major reason for disagreement and dissension would have been the house. Watts would felt he HAD to sell it, but Shan’ann didn’t want to. Perhaps she convinced him that she’d have a good month selling Thrive and that would lift them out of their debt so they could breathe for a while. Maybe he believed her. Maybe he was betting that could work. Maybe he went along with it. Perhaps that’s what the trip to North Carolina was all about – a last ditch effort to drum up new business.
But did it?
The words “house” and “home” pop up 525 and 472 times in the 1960 pages of discovery, respectively, or at an average rate of once every two pages. The 4 177-square-foot home that is 2825 Saratoga Trail is by far the largest and most expensive of the Watts family assets. The owner is none other than Chris Watts himself. The house was purchased for $392 709 in May 2013, the same year their first child, Bella, was born.
The outstanding principal on Watts’ home as per the recent foreclosure filing served on the new inmate at Dodge Prison in Waupun, Wisconsin, is $349 938.09.
This means over five-and-a-half years, Watts had only paid $42 770,91 on his mortgage. That’s significantly less than $10 000 a year, and significantly less than $1000 per month.
In the 67 months that have passed since the house was purchased, an average of $638,37 has been paid off each month. That amount was supposed to be almost five times that, at $2700-$2800. Watts has acknowledged that insurance payments on the house alone comprised $500 of the total mortgage. Using that calculation, arguably the Watts family were still averaging less than a third of the mortgage payments that were due each month.
Many who remain mystified by the Watts family murders don’t think much of the finances, or the living-beyond-their-means spiel. District Attorney Michael Rourke also mentioned the Watts’ finances dismissively in court.
According to CBS Denver:
“I think it became pretty obvious that he found a new love interest and for whatever reason in his mind, divorce wasn’t an option.I can’t speak as to why anyone would take the steps that he did but during the course of our investigation, other than the normal stressers of financial stress that I think most of us have, the occasional marital stress, we couldn’t find anything else that was a significant enough motive to annihilate your family, in the manner that he did.”
This is poor form from the prosecutor. Couldn’t find? Don’t have a motive? Look harder!
Ironically, the very area the District Attorney is minimizing as “normal stressors” was the area that wasn’t. One reason is that unlike the District Attorney who is used to living in middle class America, and probably grew up in middle class America, both Chris Watts and Shana’nn were not from middle class America. They’d risen from another social class and by the summer of 2018 were desperately trying to hang on to an upper-middle class fairy tale picture.
It’s true that many couples go through financial hardship without literally killing each other, but it’s also fair to say financial issues tend to weigh heaviest on a marriage or relationship. And here’s the rub. The worse the finances are, the worse the fighting that happens inside families.
Chronic financial disaster is going to weigh a lot more heavily than run-of-the-mill bad debt.
In the Watts family, what made this second disaster so fraught was that it was a nightmare they’d previously eluded, only to be caught up in the crocodile-infested quagmire a second time. But the second time there were three children to fjord through the swamp, two of them often sickly. There was also Shan’ann’s $100 000 surgery in August 2017, that the Watts’ family were till trying service many months later.
Probably the biggest obstacle both Watts and his wife faced if they wanted to get out of the debt black hole they were stuck in, was themselves. Both Watts and Shan’ann came from relevatively poor backgrounds, so a lot of personal pride and status was invested in the house on Saratoga Trail. It was a symbol of their great rags to riches success story. It was something they had built together into a home, and an impressive one, the biggest on the block.
The problem with such symbols, especially when they’re not real, the symbol can make you, but it can also drag you down and destroy you. Most fairy tales when they encounter the real world, and real world limits, end in tears.
A case can therefore be made, that if the house was taken out of the equations of this crime [keep the unwanted pregnancy, keep the mistress, keep the so-so finances] – but take away the real monster, take away the unaffordable castle, then everyone is free. Poor, not living so large, but alive and free.
Watts clearly wanted the best of both worlds. To keep his lifestyle and start a new life. He got his second wish.